No argument here that the recent meltdown at Jet Blue has hurt them. I wouldn't be surprised to learn they've had lots of reservations cancelled by worried travelers, and no doubt new reservations have plummeted. Certainly all the attention will tarnish their reputation.
But the good news is that people have short memories. What dominated today's headlines will be replaced tomorrow or next week by Anna Nicole or Britney, or by Hurricane Katrina or new craziness in Iraq or Washington.
The availability to the press of Jet Blue founder and CEO Dave Neeleman, coupled with the airline's plan to compensate inconvenienced passengers and the unveiling of a "passenger rights charter" are all steps in the right direction. The company is taking control of the story and showing a positive response to a bad situation.
As we know, smart marketers can use their response to a screw-up as an effective way to win back customer confidence and even reel in new customers. Jet Blue seems to be moving in the right direction.
The real test will be in deeds, rather than words. Hopefully they'll never have such a bad week again. But if and when they mess up again, they now have a written standard they'll have to live up to. If they do, it will go a long way toward Jet Blue's winning back confidence and customers.
Time will tell.